Have you ever heard about the principle of The Power of One? In a contact centre setting sharing the same role as others might make you slip into this frame of mind that whatever you do is not that important, and this is very understandable. However, each and every agent’s contribution makes a difference. Here’s how.


The success of a fast-paced environment of a call centre is determined by its staffing levels and quality. Anyone working in contact centre operations knows how critical these two are, but let's dive into the importance of the agent knowing how their behaviour and their efficiency is key in managing a profitable business (and securing the longevity of their job).


Agent smiling while on call - The Power of One Blog Image


The effect on service levels with one agent missing

To put this into perspective, Penny Reynolds, the author of 'The Power of One' principle, demonstrates this scenario in this table below.

Number of Staff Average Speed of Answer (ASA)
54 6 secs
53 8 secs
52 12 secs
51 19 secs
50 30 secs
49 50 secs
48 91 secs
47 236 secs

Looking at the table there isn't much difference in the increase in ASA when there is a bigger group of concurrent agents. Now, shift your gaze to the bottom of the table and you can see the significant jump in the ASA when the staff decreases from 48 to 47! The smaller the team is, the more significant their impact is when one goes for a longer or unscheduled break, or comes to their shift late.

And let's face it, no one really enjoys picking up someone else's slack at work. So the earlier this is brought to the attention of the agents, the easier it is for them not to pick up the cumulative mentality of not being where they should be.


How can the Power of One be explained to the team?

Intradiem shows us a great example that requires tennis balls and dividing a group of agents in half, half representing themselves as agents, and half representing the customers.

The "customers" will each have a tennis ball that represents a call. Now, go forward and ask the "customers" to throw the ball back and forward to the contact centre agents, and let them enjoy this moment of comfort knowing there is a 1:1 ratio. Then turn this up a notch and send one agent for a break without reducing the amount of balls/calls. And then send another one on another break. The stress will rise because the impact is now felt and as previously mentioned, the smaller the team is, the more the impact is felt.

This added stress can also represent the call quality, where the level of quality will also take a hit because aside from thinking of just serving the caller, they are now feeling the mounting pressure of the calls and the understaffing.

A quick exercise like this highlights the importance of working in a team and gets your colleagues to understand their own value, and to account for their behaviour especially when it affects the whole team.

On a brighter note, this means that even just adding one more person to the team can make a significant difference.

If you're thinking about stepping up your customer service or scaling up/down and do not know where to start, contact us. We promise we're friendly.

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